Report highlights concerns over Sydney Metro acquisitions

Impacted Orchard Hills last year. Photo: Melinda Jane.
Share this story

Orchard Hills residents who had their homes compulsorily acquired by the State Government for a metro station hope that a new report ignites change for other landowners.

A NSW Upper House inquiry into the Acquisition of Land in Relation to Major Transport Projects handed down the finding that on the evidence presented, Sydney Metro had “not negotiated in good faith” with the local residents.

The report also found that the “current culture of acquiring authorities”, resulted in a more difficult process for residents and small businesses.

With NSW Labor calling on the government to amend the process, Shadow Minister for Transport Jo Haylen said the report is damning.

“The government’s deeply flawed acquisition process has cost the public millions of dollars and treats local residents with disrespect,” she said.

“Compulsory acquisitions are hard enough on residents and small businesses as is, they shouldn’t be subject to an unfair acquisition process that rips them off and is personally traumatic.

“I welcome the committee’s findings and call on the government to put procedures and protocols in place to restore public confidence in the acquisitions process and make it fairer and more transparent.”

A small number of Orchard Hills residents who had their properties acquired are currently involved in legal proceedings regarding the valuations offered.

One of those residents, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Weekender that they are satisfied to a degree, however in addition to the recommendations made in the report there were other issues that were not addressed.

“With the report finding evidence that we have not been treated fairly we feel our concerns have been validated and we appreciate the politicians’ assistance to date,” the resident said.

“We have vacated as everybody has but what Sydney Metro was and still are offering does not allow residents to buy back a comparable property in the area without dipping into their savings, which is why some of us are appealing in the land and environment court.

“Now that this report has been released, we hope that Sydney Metro will act in good faith and engage openly and fairly”.

The resident said more effort needs to be done to protect homeowners.

“We hope there is some real change because there have been similar inquiries in the past and not much has changed,” she said.

“Our main goal is to get the Just Terms Act changed as we are extremely concerned for those that will face compulsory acquisition in the future.”

A NSW Government spokesperson said it is currently considering the findings and recommendations of the inquiry and will respond in due course.

“The property acquisition process is heavily regulated with a number of in-built processes, including an independent assessment from the Valuer General in the event a negotiated outcome cannot be reached,” the spokesperson said.

“The response will include identifying any improvements that can be made to existing acquisition processes for the benefit of communities affected by property acquisitions.”

Share this story